”World Cup Winners”
Nickname – The Azzurri | World Cup Winners 4x (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) | Slogan to Brazil – Let’s Paint The World Cup Dream Blue
The Italians have won the World Cup in slightly controversial circumstances in 2006 and six years later, they made it to the final of the European cup. The blessing that Italy has on its side is that, they are always underrated in major tournaments and so they have the opportunity to play without any pressure. The reason why they are never considered genuine favourites leaves more questions than answers as bar the South Africa 2010 World Cup Italy always turns up and puts in a good showing in major competitions. They have won the world cup 4 times and being the ever tactically disciplined team that they are, they possess the power to spring a string of surprises in Brazil.
In Cesare Prandelli, Italy have one of the most technically gifted coaches at the World Cup and much has been documented about the fact that Italy has already played Brazil twice in the past two years. Although, Italy did not win any of those encounters, being the calculated man that Prandelli is, the term ‘third time lucky’ looks to be on the cards, should Italy face Brazil this time around. The reputation of the Italian defence precedes it and in Gianluigi Buffon, they have a goal keeper and captain who carries his country on his back. Midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo has aged like fine wine and in Mario Balotelli they possess a goal getter out to prove a lot of doubters wrong.
Italy’s World Cup Team List
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma)
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
Sadly in recent times the Italian defence has not reached the heights, It had been notorious for and putting all hope on Mario Balotelli to get the goals is something a lot of coaches will consider to be a gamble. Italy, however is the most versatile team in the tournament, being able to switch between a possession game and a defensive game with effortless ease. Having more possession than Spain in last year’s Confederations Cup is an achievement that went unnoticed. Flexibility and experience are the essential ingredients needed for a World Cup triumph and Italy possesses these in abundance.
The countdown continues as the World cup starts in roughly 2days. See you there
This article was written by Yemi Kuti